Self-Possession for Black Women in Coast Salish territory
The history of Black people in Vancouver is storied, rich and complex and though representing less than 1% of the population, Black people’s presence rallies for visibility 40 years after the destruction of Vancouver’s only Black neighbourhood “Hogan’s Alley”.
In commemoration of February as Black History Month 2017, BWSS presents “Standing on Points of Power – Self-Possession for Black Women” group. Standing on Points of Power drop-in group will illuminate the presence of Black Women in Vancouver by creating a unique space where Black Women can unapologetically come together with a positive regard, and respectful consideration, of their shared lived experiences, as Black women. Though we are sure that the life experiences of Black Women may include some trauma and situations of abuse, the choice to disclose these things are completely up to the participant and not a requirement or focus of the group.
Participants of the group will be surrounded and supported by women who have a common and distinctive shared ancestral history without the need to censor their selves, or perform for others. This network of women will come together to bear witness and create a healing space each in other’s lives, struggles, and transformations. We ask Women to come in a spirit of celebration and community and represent themselves however they feel most comfortable.
Standing on Points of Power is co-facilitated by Theresa Thomas, Women’s Counsellor at BWSS and Amarachi Chukwu, Volunteer Group Facilitator.
“It’s difficult being a part of a population group that is viewed as so strong all the time; it makes it impossible to connect to, or even to know when to, ask for support” said Theresa Thomas, “being a Black woman my strength is born out of necessity, but that does not mean I want to or I’m okay ignoring my humanity”
“There is strength in vulnerability, inspiration in seeing ourselves mirrored in diverse ways, freedom in sharing our experiences without fear of dismissal, beauty in celebrating ourselves as flawed and human and power in being authentically yourself without pressure to perform” said Amarachi Chukwu, “The healing and growth that stems from this empowerment is a privilege, one that is not often afforded to women who wear Black skin.”
“Vancouver as a city is unique in its success at virtually eliminating Black people’s presence, cultural, social and political voice through a city policy.” said Angela Marie MacDougall, BWSS Executive Director. “Through Standing on Points of Power, our primary goal is to redress this invisibility and support Black Women loving and delighting in our Blackness!”
Standing on Points of Power drop-in group is currently welcoming participants for the group starting on Thursday, February 23, 2017 from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm at BWSS East Vancouver offices. For more information about the group call Angela, 604- 808-0507 or email [email protected] or email Theresa, [email protected]
On February 7th 2017 from 7am to 8am on Democracy North, Angela Marie MacDougall hosted Black Futures 2017, discussions on themes and concerns of the African diaspora in western Canada.
Angela’s guests included Adeline Bird and Alexa Joy to discuss “What is Black Space?” and Anthonia Ogundele and Stephanie Allen to discuss “Are there any Black people in Vancouver?” Recognition, Honouring, Access and Inclusion.
Angela was also joined by Theresa Thomas, Woman’s Counsellor at BWSS and co-facilitator of “Standing on Points of Power – Self-Possession for Black Women” to discuss the new support group at Battered Women’s Support Services.
Press play to listen to Black Futures 2017
Angela also joined Minelle Mahtani host of Sense of Place on Roundhouse Radio to talk about Battered Women’s Support Services celebrating Black History Month by presenting, in part, “Standing on Points of Power –Self Possession for Black Women” Group.